Town of Pawleys Island Police Department

Pawleys Island, South Carolina, is a town that enjoys a thriving summer community. It is a place that grows from 100 or so year round residents to over 5,000 visitors and residents during the summer season. Ensuring the safety and protection of the community are the dedicated members of the Pawleys Island Police Department. Although the town’s unofficial motto is “arrogantly shabby“, the police department is proud of its professional law enforcement image.

The Pawleys Island Police Department was created in 1993 with a chief, two officers and one vehicle. Since then, the department has expanded to include a chief, four full time officers and four part time officers. Currently led by Chief Michael Fanning, the officers patrol the 3.8 mile barrier island, its beaches and surrounding waters with three 4×4 vehicles, an all-terrain vehicle and a personal watercraft. The department’s personnel have over 150 years of combined law enforcement experience between them. This experience of our personnel derives from assignments in a variety of federal, state, and municipal agencies across the nation.

We hope you enjoy your visit to Pawleys Island and please let us know if there is anything we can help you with.

Mission Statement
It is the mission of the Pawleys Island Police Department to preserve the public peace, prevent crime, detect and arrest violators of the law, and protect life and property. We will uphold the Constitution of these United States, enforce the laws of South Carolina and the ordinances of the Town of Pawleys Island.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Office Hours – Town Hall is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday. The Police Department office is not always staffed full time although there is always an officer available for emergencies. In An Emergency Call 911, for all other information inquiries call Town Hall (843-237-1698). If you need to speak with an officer immediately call 843-237-3008 and the dispatcher will contact one.

Parking – There is a limited amount of parking on the island, so please plan your trip accordingly. Parking regulations are strictly enforced. Here is a list of public parking and beach accesses.
– Georgetown County Lot located at the south end of Springs Avenue.
– First Street Beach Access
– Second Street Beach Access
– Third Street Beach Access
– Shell Road Beach Access
– Hazard Street Beach Access
– Pritchard Street Beach Access
– Adjacent to the boat landings at Pritchard Street, Shell Road and Third Street

In addition to these parking locations, there are certain areas where you may park your vehicle along the side of the road within five (5) feet of the edge of the pavement unless otherwise posted or restricted. NO VEHICLES MAY PARK ON THE PAVEMENT IN THE RIGHT OF WAY.

Town Court – The Town’s court is held the third Wednesday of each month at 5:00 PM at the Pawleys Island Magistrate Court, 14363 Ocean Highway (behind Applewood’s Pancake House), unless otherwise noted on the summons. Please check the ticket to verify.

Fire Permit – Open fires are prohibited, however you may obtain a permit HERE for a fire pit on the beach under following circumstances. No free-standing barbeques are allowed on the beach, charcoal fires only in a hole dug in the sand. Absolutely no open flames. Permit holder is responsible for any damages caused by the fire. No fire permit will be issued within 5 houses of a marked sea turtle nest. Permits are free of charge.

All town ordinances can be found HERE.

Fireworks – Absolutely No Fireworks are permitted on the island.

Tents & Chairs – There are no restrictions against open sided tents. Please remove your tents, tent frames & beach chairs when you leave the beach for the day. We also ask that you fill in large holes in the Sand. These items impede the nesting process of sea turtles.

Surfing – Surfing is not restricted to a particular section except within 100 yards of the pier under SC Code 50-21-180. Surfing is also prohibited by law between sunset and sunrise (50-21-820). Surfers are also prohibited by law to engage in conduct that endangers others (50-21-840a) which includes surfing too close to swimmers.

Golf Carts – Golf carts are permitted on Pawleys Island under State Code of Laws 56-2-105. The The Town of Pawleys Island also has its own set of ordinances that can be viewed HERE. The following rules apply:

  • Golf carts may only be operated during daylight hours
  • Golf carts are prohibited from driving on the beach
  • Golf carts may only be operated within 2 miles of the address on the registration certificate
  • Operator of the golf cart must be at least 16 years of age and hold a valid drivers license
  • Operator must possess valid registration certificate from DMV & display registration decal
  • Operator must have proof of liability insurance
  • Golf cart must be registered with the town of Pawleys Island and display the appropriate decal

Town golf cart permits can be obtained at town hall during business hours. Please bring your registration and proof of insurance. There is a $10 fee. Decals are good for one calendar year.

Dogs – Dogs are allowed on the beach year round; owners must have a leash in hand, have their dog under voice control and pick up after them.

May 1 through September 30 between 8:00 AM until 8:00 PM, dogs must be on a leash and under complete control, even in the water.

Fishing – A SC Department of Natural Resources Salt Water Fishing Permit is required for creeks and ocean fishing. They may be purchased online or at several area retailers.

Handicap Wheelchair – Through the hard work of a local Eagle Scout, a beach accessible wheelchair is available at the south end lot. A signed release is required to use the wheelchair. The form can be obtained at town hall.

Crime Prevention – To ensure that Pawleys Island remains a very safe place, we would like to make it less inviting to thieves and criminals. Please be aware that many areas of the island are under video surveillance. We ask that you lock your vehiclesat all times and do not leave any items of value in view. Please secure doors and windows of residences whenever possible. Store bikes, kayaks and other valuables in a safe and secure place. Homeowners are encouraged to contact the police department for a security survey and may request to have your residence placed on a special watch list during the off season.

Safety Tips

Pedestrian Safety – While walking or jogging along the road please go against the flow of vehicular traffic and wear bright clothing after dusk. Rules for safe walking & jogging: Click here

Bicycle Safety – While riding a bicycle on the road you must obey the same traffic regulations as automobiles. Please do not ride multiple bicycles abreast causing vehicles to cross the double yellow lines. The use of a bike helmet and reflective gear is recommended. Rules for safe riding: click here

Water Safety – One of the most dangerous situations we encounter during the summer season are events where people are not familiar with ocean swimming and find themselves caught in a rip current. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with some safety guidelines for swimming in the ocean. Click Here

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